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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, September 17, 2020

Guests: Elizabeth Neumann, David Frum, Mary Trump, Nanette Barragan


Olivia Troye, former coronavirus task force member, just announced her view that President Trump did not care about the public, only his reelection when confronted with the pandemic. Interview with Mary Trump. A nurse who worked in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Georgia claimed in a whistleblower complaint filed with the Department of Homeland Security inspector general on Monday that detained immigrant women at the facility are routinely being sent to a gynecologist who has performed unnecessary hysterectomies. In a new Monmouth poll released today, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump by four points, 48 to 44 in Arizona, a state with 11 electoral votes.



We have Mary Trump joining us tonight because when I was reading the Bob Woodward book and listening to Donald Trump in that book, because you can kind of hear him kind of screaming off the page, every time I just wanted to turn to Mary Trump and say, what do you think because it's just -- I think it's an amazing diagnostic material for Mary Trump. So, we're going to get her reading of that later in the hour tonight.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: She is uniquely positioned to be able to give you that kind of a response, exactly.

O'DONNELL: Yes. And we learned that when you introduced her to us all.

MADDOW: Thanks, my dear.

O'DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel

Stay the course. That is Mike Pence's motto in the Trump White House, stay the course.

Olivia Troye is no longer going to stay the course, not Mike Pence's course, not Donald Trump's course.

Olivia Troye was in the room where it happened and now Olivia Troye is the most important defector from the Trump administration because she was in the thick of what was supposed to be the Trump administration's fight against the coronavirus, the single most important challenge the Trump White House has faced and in the judgment of Bob Woodward, who appeared on this program last night, in his new book he says, his judgment is that it is a story of failure of Donald Trump and his administration, to defend the people of this country against the coronavirus.

Olivia Troye is a lifelong Republican from Texas. She's a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, the National Defense University's School of International Affairs and the Naval Post-Graduate School.

She served in the Bush administration and was kept on in the Obama administration, and she served at Vice President Mike Pence's homeland security and counterterrorism adviser where she was his lead staff member on the fight against COVID-19.

She was the leading expert on the Pence staff on this policy. She was not the highest-ranking member of that staff. The higher-ranking positions are all held by political people, not policy experts, necessarily. But people who are interested in making sure Mike Pence gets re-elected as vice president.

Bob Woodward's book "Rage" describes former Republican Senator Dan Coats living under the stress of trying to do the right thing as Donald Trump's director of national intelligence while Donald Trump was constantly doing what Dan Coats' wife Marsha would call, quote, something outrageous.

At a White House dinner after Donald Trump had gone something outrageous, Mike Pence, an old friend of Dan Coats and his wife from Indiana, they're all from Indiana, Mike Pence came over to them, Marsha Coats said, I just looked at him like, this is horrible I mean, we made eye contact. I think he understood. And he just whispered in my ear, stay the course.

At the same dinner, Dan Coats said, that was exactly what Pence had said to him, stay the course.

This summer, Olivia Troye could no longer stay the course, and so she left the Trump White House. She does not have a bad word to say about Mike Pence. She told "The Washington Post" she thinks Mike Pence has done the best he can under the circumstances.

She was interviewed by "The Washington Post" today because she has come out forcefully against the re-election of the president of the United States and against the re-election of her old boss, the vice president of the United States, based on Donald Trump's failure to even try to do everything that he could to save lives as the coronavirus approached and after the coronavirus arrived in this country.

Olivia Troye was in the room where it happened, and she was in that room repeatedly. She was in the room every single time the coronavirus task force had a meeting. She arranged those meetings.

Donald Trump was not in that room most of the time. One time that he did attend one of those meetings, Olivia Troye says he spoke for 45 minutes about how unfairly he was being treated by Fox News.

Quote: He spent more time about who was going to call Fox and yell at them to set them straight, and he did on the virus, she said. Olivia Troye says she'd seen enough of Donald Trump during the presidential campaign to not expect much of him as president, but she did have high hopes that working for Mike Pence could help guide the administration in the right direction in her policy jurisdiction of protecting the American people.

Olivia Troye has regrets. "The Washington Post" reports she wished she would have spoken out internally more often and that she had wrestled with many sleepless nights about her actions and time in the administration. I wish I had been more aggressive in fighting internal forces working against the CDC and other policies for the president's personal agenda, she said. I wish I was more aggressive with the staff and the vice president's team and some of the president's staff.

Olivia Troye emphasized her continued and continuing respect for Vice President Pence. She said, I still have a lot of respect for the vice president. I worked very loyally for him to do everything I could for him. I don't want this to become a speaking out against him thing.

And when Mike Pence was asked about Olivia Troye today, he said, it reads to me like one more disgruntled employee that has decided to play politics during an election year.

Here's what Dr. Anthony Fauci told Chris Hayes tonight about Olivia Troye.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I interacted with Olivia. I liked her. She was a good person. She was important to the team as a staff person for the coronavirus task force


O'DONNELL: Here is how Olivia Troye announced today that she is no longer going to stay the course for Mike Pence and Donald Trump.


OLIVIA TROYE, ADVISOR TO THE VP FOR HOMELAND SECURITY, COUNTERTERRORISM: I'm Olivia Troye. I was homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to Vice President Pence and served as Vice President Pence's lead staff member on the COVID 19 response. I've been on the COVID task force from day one.

The virus was very unpredictable. There were a lot of unknowns. But towards the middle of February, we knew it wasn't a matter of if COVID would become a big pandemic here in the United States, it was a matter of when.

But the president didn't want to hear that because his biggest concern was that we were in an election year and how is this going to affect what he considered to be his record of success? It was shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything's okay when we know that it's not.

The truth is he doesn't actually care about anyone else but himself.

He made a statement once that was very striking. I never forgot it because it pretty much defined who he was. When we were in a task force meeting, the president said, maybe this COVID thing is a good thing. I don't like shaking hands with people. I don't have to shake hands with these disgusting people.

Those disgusting people are the same people that he claims to care about. These are the people still going to his rallies today who have complete faith in who he is.

If the president had taken this virus seriously or if he had actually made an effort to tell how serious it was, he would have slowed the virus spread, he would have saved lives.

It was the opportunity and honor of a lifetime to be able to serve in the White House. I put my heart and soul into this role every single day. But at some point, I would come home at night, I would look myself in the mirror and say, are you really making a difference? Does it matter because no matter how hard you work and what you do, the president is going to do something that is detrimental to keeping Americans safe, which is why you signed up for this role?

It was awful. It was terrifying.

I have been a Republican for my entire life. I am a McCain Republican. I am a Bush Republican, and I am voting for Joe Biden because I truly believe we are at a time of constitutional crisis. At this point, it's country over party.


O'DONNELL: One of Mike Pence's senior staff members issued a statement today saying Olivia Troye should have voiced her concerns while she was still working in the White House. Quote: By not expressing her concern, she demonstrated an incredible lack of moral courage.

Olivia Troye has shown the moral courage reflected in the oath that she took to serve in government. She has clearly taken that oath more seriously than most people still working in the Trump White House, and she has the moral courage to recognize that her service to the American people does not end when she leaves government service.

Today, Olivia Troye has shown her former colleagues in the Trump White House what moral courage really looks like.

Leading off our discussion tonight, Elizabeth Newman, former assistant secretary for threat prevention and security policy at the Department of Homeland Security in the Trump administration. She is the co-founder of Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform. And David Frum is with us. He's a senior editor from "The Atlantic", and former speechwriter for George W. Bush. He is the author of Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy".

And, Elizabeth, let me begin with you tonight. We have seen yet another defection. This one, in my view, may be the most important one because this comes from right inside the coronavirus task force, the group that was supposed to defend the people of this country from the coronavirus.

ELIZABETH NEUMANN, FORMER DHS OFFICIAL, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: Yes, and it took tremendous courage for Olivia to speak out. I had the opportunity to talk to her last week when she was trying to make a decision about whether to speak out and quite honestly what she shared with me and a few others was -- it kind of brought me to tears. It was so sad to hear firsthand what I could speculate about because I saw the effects of his chilling -- his chilling effects on the agencies.

But, again, when you are on the outside, you are just speculating. You are trying to understand why is this not working the way it is supposed to work. And to hear her firsthand to current really, really confirmed how dangerous a position we are in this country right now and how critical this election is.

So I'm just so grateful she is able to speak out and give that firsthand account so the American people have the facts when they vote this November.

O'DONNELL: David Frum, we have all worked in government we have worked in government at relatively high levels under serious pressure, you in the White House.

And I think for a lot of people out there, they might think, well, why wouldn't she just come out and tell the truth of her experience. What's so difficult about that?

And I don't want to get too far into that because I think there should be a presumption that people will do that, but that presumption has been lost in the Trump White House. It's been lost in the Trump administration so she is the kind of rarity that she should not be.

DAVID FRUM, THE ATLANTIOC: Right, well, let's think about that your question is a very powerful one. She's a national figure tonight, and she's collecting accolades from you and probably from many of the people who watch the show and perhaps you will remember her all the way to Election Day and perhaps a little time after that.

But over the next 30 and 40 years, the viewers tonight will forget her, but the people she alienated, they will not forget it. This will be in their memory of her, for the rest of her career, the rest of her life, that the list of things she could do has been cut by half, two-thirds, three-quarters and there will forever be a mark on her by the people who care most.

So when people say, well, look, she's famous on TV, that fades. The enmities she's made, the risk she's taken, that endures. And that's the mark of the courage she showed.

O'DONNELL: And, Elizabeth, she goes out of her way to say, I don't want this to be a me against Mike Pence thing. She says she expresses her respect for Mike Pence in her very first interview about this today. The very first thing Mike Pence says about her is just another disgruntled former employee.

NEUMANN: Look, I -- if you were in her shoes, it would be the same thing. I think Mike Pence is doing the best job that he possibly can.

Reality is he has no choice. He has to issue a statement like that because otherwise, he gets crossed with the president.

I think the added factor -- I agree completely with what David just said. It is actually kind of sobering for me to think about the long-term impacts for me and my family based on the decision that we made to speak out as well, but the reality is in this administration, there is a level of intimidation that is so much graver than any other political environment I have operated in in the last 20 years.

So that intimidation factor, that fear factor, there is literally fear that our families are going to be put at risk if we speak out, that the president's supporters are just that vitriolic in their affection for him and angry at anyone that speaks out against him. So that intimidation factor is very real.

We're talking to a number of other people that want to speak out. And that's what they have to overcome is very real fears and in many cases grounded fears that they are taking a risk that may impact their families.

O'DONNELL: David Frum, I don't have to shake hands with disgusting people. That's one of -- one of the ways Donald Trump looks at the coronavirus and when you watch those rallies now, he doesn't have to shake hands with any of those people there. He makes it very clear he told a Nevada television interviewer that he is the only one at his rallies who is socially distant he feels safe because he is socially distanced from all those people out there who Olivia Troye says he calls disgusting people.

FRUM: And that is now a name and a face and a date on that quotation. People around the president may try to deny it, but there is a named person saying this is what he said.

And it was just a week ago that my boss, colleague, Jeff Goldberg at "The Atlantic", said Trump had refer referred to America's war dead as losers and suckers. That was sourced to many people at high levels who heard the president say it, or talked to people who heard him say it.

And I think all of that gets more credible because Donald Trump has shown you his attitude toward people. And now, we have a staffer saying, this is how he speaks of his supporters, how else would he speak of America's fallen war dead?

O'DONNELL: David Frum, Elizabeth Neumann, thank you both for starting us off tonight. We really appreciate it.

FRUM: Thank you.

NEUMANN: Thank you.

O'DONNELL: Coming up, two words I have been wanting to use in the introduction since we all met her when Rachel introduced her to us on "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW". Those two words are Mary Trump.


O'DONNELL: Every time Donald Trump speaks in Bob Woodward's new book "Rage," I think about Mary Trump, Donald Trump's niece, a clinical psychologist who has written her own book about Donald Trump in which she offers her professional and familial diagnosis of her uncle's psychological imbalances.

Donald Trump is constantly complaining to Bob Woodward about how unfairly he has been treated his whole life.


BOB WOODWARD, JOURNALIST: People want their president to succeed. Now, you're right. There are some people who don't.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, no, no. I think you're wrong.

WOODWARD: But -- but -- but --

TRUMP: No, people don't want me to succeed.

WOODWARD: No, but if you succeed, they succeed.

TRUMP: Even the RINOs, even the RINOs don't want me to succeed. Now, they will end up with a Supreme Court and lots of things that they're not going to be too happy with.

WOODWARD: Yeah, you know --

TRUMP: Bob, I have opposition like nobody has. And that's okay. I've had that all my life. I've always had it. This has been -- my whole life has been like this.

In the meantime, right now, I'm looking at the White House, OK? I'm staring right at the walls of the White House.


O'DONNELL: Joining us now is Mary Trump, the niece of Donald Trump. She's the author of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man".

Mary, welcome to this program. I'm so glad that you can finally join us. Really appreciate it.

As I say, when I listen to your uncle, because in Bob Woodward's book, you can hear his voice and then he's also given up the tapes so we can hear his voice. I just want to turn to you every time, at the end of every one of those and say, Mary, what do you think? What do you think?

So when he's on there, when you just heard him talking about his whole life, his whole life he's been treated unfairly like this, the way he's been treated unfairly now, what is your -- what is your reaction to that?

MARY TRUMP, AUTHOR, "TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH": On the one hand, it's deeply delusional. I've never met somebody who is so privileged and so aggrieved.

On the other hand, though, there is a kernel of truth to it in the sense that he has been treated unfairly. He's been treated better by it than most people ever are. He's been given advantages most people don't get. He's had insane amounts of money that most people can't even imagine having -- having thrown at them.

And, yet, somehow he's still the victim. It's quite astonishing and really unpleasant to listen to, I have to say.

O'DONNELL: Yes, there is also a recurring chorus from your uncle in this book where he's constantly talking about the book that he's giving interviews to create, and he's worried about it, and he's saying to Bob Woodward, is this going to be a good book, is this going to be a bad book, is this going to be fair, if you write a fair book.

Here's -- here's an example. He says, all I asked for is fairness, Trump said, and, you know, I'm sure I won't get it, but that's okay. I'm used to that, but I do ask for fairness because nobody's done what I've done. Nobody.

So, Mary, it's a combination of psychological operations there. One is, I'm asking for fairness, I don't expect to get it, but I'm tough enough to think that's okay. And then, let's remember, I'm the greatest guy in the world. No one has ever done what I've done, nobody.

MARY TRUMP: Yeah. You know, the combination of self-aggrandizement, weakness -- you know, he is almost pitiable here, and, again, this kernel of truth. Nobody has done what he's done. Unfortunately, for our sakes, what he's actually done is be the most destructive inhabitant of the Oval Office we've ever had in this country.

O'DONNELL: The -- the other thing that's happening in this -- throughout the book, is there are scenes where Lindsey Graham is actually trying to talk to Donald Trump and tell him what he needs to do on the coronavirus and how he -- and it's not just appearances. He actually needs to do it, or you won't be able to get the economy back.

And Lindsey Graham, and maybe this is -- I don't know what this says about Lindsey Graham's sensibilities. But every single time, he never -- when he's talking about there could be tens of thousands dead, there could be a couple of hundred thousand dead.

He never talks about that human tragedy. He just says that will be bad for your presidency. Or doing the right thing will be good for your presidency. There is nothing about what it means to, as a matter of humanity. There is zero appeal to humanity.

MARY TRUMP: I imagine at that point, Lindsey Graham already knew that such appeals would get him nowhere with Donald. He's not interested in that.

It's been pretty clear for a long time now that, first of all, he only represents the people he thinks supports him. And secondly that, you know, his agenda at the moment is getting re-elected. So, it's completely transactional and it's all about what's good for him and to talk about it in human terms would be wasted on him entirely

O'DONNELL: I want to listen to another piece of the Woodward tapes where it's this kind of mournful moment, for me anyway, kind of at the end of their interactions with each other where Donald Trump just says nothing more could have been done nothing more could have been done.

Let's listen to the way that conversation goes.


WOODWARD: It's going to be a contest between you and Biden. It's going to be a contest between both of you and the virus. The virus is said -- because it's in real people's lives, you know all those tens of millions of people who don't have jobs, who don't have --

TRUMP: I know.

WOODWARD: That in -- listen, I mean, you and I --

TRUMP: Nothing more could have been done, nothing more could have been done. I acted early. I acted early. We'll see.

WOODWARD: This will be the history that we start the first draft of, and it will continue and --

TRUMP: So you think the virus totally supersedes the economy

WOODWARD: Oh, sure. But they're related, as you know.

TRUMP: A little bit, yeah.

WOODWARD: Oh, a little bit? I mean --

TRUMP: I mean more than a little bit. But the economy is doing -- look, we're close to a new stock market record.


O'DONNELL: Mary Trump, what do you hear in that one?

MARY TRUMP: The thing that bothers me -- well, there are a lot of things about it that bother me. But the first thing that comes to mind is just the lack of interest in his tone of voice. You know, so lazy. Nothing could have been done -- which of course is a lie.

But beyond that, just his complete lack of understanding or willingness to understand how important COVID-19 continues to be largely because of his willful inaction that's gotten in excess now of 200,000 Americans killed needlessly.

Also, his failure to understand how deeply the virus and the economy are linked and we cannot recover one without solving the other.

And, finally, his stubbornness in continuing to insist that the American economy is measured how well or how badly the stock market is doing, which is completely misleading and has nothing to do with the lives most Americans lead. So across the board, it's just an awful exchange.

O'DONNELL: Mary, please stay with us across this commercial break.

When we come back, there's one of these now, what is considered kind of the smoking gun tapes of the Woodward book that I want you to react to that I'm sure, I'm sure, you could have predicted that this is exactly what Donald Trump would have done.

We'll be right back after this break with Mary Trump.


O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Here's Donald Trump telling Bob Woodward on March 19th why he wasn't telling America the truth about the coronavirus.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think, Bob, really to be honest with you.

BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR: Sure, I want you to be.

TRUMP: I wanted to -- I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.


TRUMP: Because I don't want to create a panic.


O'DONNELL: Mary Trump is back with us. Mary, I've always felt since I have heard that that you could have predicted for us that that is what he was doing and what he would have privately told someone as the salesman that he's always been.

MARY TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S NIECE: Yes. And I know I'm not the first person to point this out, but panicking people seems to be his go-to move since January, 2017. So it is a little odd for him to take that tone about COVID.

But on the other hand, yes, he has perfectly good reasons, in this case, because he knew a long time ago that this is not something he wanted to be associated with. It's something that he considers to be negative, and negativity is not something that he can handle. Everything has to be great and positive all the time unless, you know, he's the one making people feel afraid or whatever it is.

But in this case he really needed to distance himself from the seriousness of the disease. And as soon as he realized that there was no containing it in an easy way, that he did have to distance himself from it entirely and just pretend that it was fine, which as we have seen, has been absolutely disastrous.

And the fact that he continues to do so should disturb everybody because it just shows you this man is incapable of pivoting, because pivoting means admitting that you did something wrong. And he will never do that, no matter how many people will be sacrificed on the altar of his having to be right in his own mind, at least.

O'DONNELL: I want to take you into our lead story tonight. Olivia Troy who was in the coronavirus task force and in one of those meetings heard your uncle say that one of the good things about the coronavirus is I don't have to shake hands with disgusting people.

M. TRUMP: Yes, that sounds exactly like something he would say. But, of course, there is one woman standing up to speak the truth, and people who are in a position of power like Mike Pence who I heard one of your guests earlier let him off the hook. But I'm sorry, it's utterly cowardly.

Mike Pence has plenty of choices and so do other people in the executive branch of this government. And thankfully this woman stood up and spoke her truth, which I'm sure is the truth because I can hear Donald saying that. Not just on this occasion but on many other occasions so and in return for her moral courage, she gets called a moral coward.

O'DONNELL: That quote that he started this segment with where your uncle was saying he's always been downplaying the coronavirus. That's going to be in the presidential debates. We know that. The moderators -- at least one of them is going to have to bring it up.

And it was so striking to see the other night when Johnny Powell, a student in Philadelphia on the ABC Town Hall asked the president about that, said you said you were playing it down. Why were you playing it down. And he simply denied to her that he was playing it down. He just lied right to her, to America. Everyone knew it was a lie. They have heard his voice say it. And then he tried to twist in to say I actually played it up.

This is what we can expect from him on the debate stage. Is anyone going to tell him that didn't work the other night?

M. TRUMP: I think the number of people willing to tell him anything at this point is vanishingly small. And even if they did, he'll do what he thinks is right in his gut, right? That's what he thinks is the best barometer of how he needs to behave.

So of course, he's going to continue to lie. He can't help it, you know, nobody tells as many lies as he does on purpose. You know, it is almost like breathing for him.

So I think the only way to combat that, and I wish this happened all the time, is to correct him in real-time. He needs to be fact checked in the moment even if it means interrupting him because letting him lie, letting the lie sit there and then coming back later to restate whatever he said factually is to give him an advantage that he's had enough of that.

And it's got to stop because it's dangerous, what he lies about is dangerous. And we need to be really straightforward about that. And I really do hope that the debates do not become yet another forum for Donald to tell his lies and spin facts to favor him while everybody else just sits there and lets him do it.

O'DONNELL: I think what you just said is very important for the debate moderators to hear. What would you say to Joe Biden about how he could handle this flow, this fire hose of Donald Trump lies that's going to come at him in the debate?

M. TRUMP: First of all, and I mean this sincerely, I hope vice president Biden refers to Donald as Donald, just because I think that's an easy way to get under his skin and nobody's disrespected the office as much as Donald has so he doesn't deserve the cover of the respect of the office of the presidency.

But in terms of the lying and what to do about it, if the moderators don't step in to fact-check Donald, then vice president Biden needs to do it even if it feels rude, even if it feels like he's interrupting.

It's too important for us to sit on ceremony here if Donald lies -- and it is usually pretty easy to tell when he's lying, you know. Whenever he says I've done more for x, y or z than anybody in the history of America, we know he's lying.

So it shouldn't be too difficult to take those chances, and I really hope that he is able to do that, I mean vice president Biden. Because he would be doing the American people a great service.

O'DONNELL: Mary, I have always found that there is another tell that he has. It is whenever he says phrases like, "to be honest with you", which he inserts right in the middle of sentences or, "to tell you the truth". And what follows is never the truth.

And it is also worth noting, people out there should notice, you never heard Barack Obama ever say, "to be honest with you" or George Bush say, "to be honest with you", because the presumption after you have said that is everything else you said you weren't being honest

M. TRUMP: Yes. He's -- it's very easy to tell when Donald is lying. It's harder, however, to tell when he's repeating a lie he's told that he now believes is the truth. Because he's very good at convincing himself of that over time since he repeats his lies so often, he actually also comes to believe them.

So that's another great thing for vice president Biden to be aware of in the debates. Watch for those tells.

O'DONNELL: Mary Trump, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it. Please come back.

M. TRUMP: Any time. Thank you, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up, Congress has launched an investigation now into claims from a whistleblower that people at a facility in Georgia were forced to undergo -- women were forced to undergo medical procedures including hysterectomies.

Congresswoman Nanette Barragan will join us next.


O'DONNELL: A nurse who worked in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Georgia claimed in a whistleblower complaint filed with the Department of Homeland Security inspector general on Monday that detained immigrant women at the facility are routinely being sent to a gynecologist who has performed unnecessary hysterectomies. The whistleblower is Dawn Wooten, a nurse who worked at the Irwin County detention center in Ocilla, Georgia until July of this year.

The nurse's complaint is based on what the detained women have told her. In the complaint Dawn Wooten says, "Everybody the doctor sees has a hysterectomies, just about everybody. He's even taken out the wrong ovary on a young lady. She was supposed to get her left ovary removed because it had a cyst on the left ovary. He took out the right one. She was upset. She had to go back to take out the left and she wound up with a total hysterectomy. She still wanted children, so she has to go back home now and tell her husband that she can't bear kids. She said she was not all the way out under anesthesia and heard the doctor tell the nurse that he took the wrong ovary."

Here is what nurse Dawn Wooten told Chris Hayes.


DAWN WOOTEN, WHISTLEBLOWER NURSE: I had several detained women on numerous occasions that would come to me and say, Miss Wooten, I had a hysterectomy. Why? I had no answers as to why they had those procedures. And one lady walked up to me here this last time around between October of '19 until July the 2nd, and she said, what is he is he? Is he the uterus collector? Does he collect uteruses?


O'DONNELL: Joining us now is a Congresswoman Nanette Barragan, Democrat of California. Congresswoman, you are calling for an investigation on this. What else needs to be done?

REP. NANETTE BARRAGAN (D-CA): Well, Lawrence, a lot needs to be done. The Hispanic caucus is actually making a trip out there to provide a visit as well. But what's happening to these women is heart-breaking. It's wrong. It's a crime.

So besides calling for an investigation, we need to look and see whether criminal charges should be filed against the doctors and the enablers who did something if they did it wrong. Again, we have to get to the bottom of this.

Second, I think we need to end the practice of having for profit private contractors that run these ICE facilities. We had a hearing in Homeland Security just in July on this very issue. And the inspector general did a report about medical care in response to COVID and what did they do? They surveyed their own contractors and ICE themselves. That's not the way to do an investigation.

So those are some starts, but we also need to see who are they holding? Is it really necessary to detain these women? And why are they having these procedures? There is so many questions that we have that we need to get answers to but I think we need to start with putting an end to these contractors.

O'DONNELL: Congresswoman Jayapal has issued a statement saying it appears that there may be at minimum, 17 to 18 women who were subjected to unnecessary medical gynecological procedures from just this one doctor, often without appropriate consent or knowledge and with the clear intention of sterilization.

BARRAGAN: It's appalling. When I read about it and I hear about it, it makes me angry. And it should make us all angry. And it should make us ask what are we going to do to stop this.

Not just another investigation, not just another hearing, but put an end to these practices. Again, there has been a pattern of practice with these private contractors in not providing the care. And these are conclusions from the inspector general's own reports in the past.

And so we have to take a look again and look to alternatives to detention, see what's going on, call for changes but real changes. And that starts with ending -- giving these contracts to these contractors and having them continue these practices.

Again, I should be -- I'm outraged and I would hope that some of our colleagues on the other side would also speak up on this issue. It is very frustrating to continue to have complete silence when women's health is at stake and women's lives. And it's really just something that makes me very angry. But we've got to do more than just be angry, Lawrence. And I'm hoping the Congress will look at the option of starting to replace these contractors and end them.

This very contractor, La Salle (ph), has been investigated before. They've also had reports from the inspector general about their practices. What is it going to take? We've already had people dying in detention. Now we have women whose uterus is being taken out or having hysterectomies, the wrong ovaries. It's outrageous.

And the government has failed these women. They were in custody, and they have failed these women. And these contractors need to be held accountable. And this doctor should not be practicing, certainly not on women that are in the custody of the United States government.

O'DONNELL: Congresswoman Nanette Barragan, thank you very much for joining us on this very, very difficult subject tonight. Really appreciate it

BARRAGAN: Thank you.

O'DONNELL: And when we come back, you know, if I'm forced to listen to only one person about the election, it would be Charlie Cook, which is why Charlie Cook will be joining us next.

He says the data for this election now is very clear, and it's very different from what it was four years ago. And it's very bad for Donald Trump.


O'DONNELL: In a new Monmouth poll released today, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump by four points, 48 to 44 in Arizona, a state with 11 electoral votes. Donald Trump won Arizona four years ago by four points.

Four years ago, the same poll showed Donald Trump one point ahead of Hillary Clinton in Arizona, 46-45. In the most recent national poll conducted by "The Economist" and YouGov, Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump 50 to 41 with only 47 days left until Election Day and with some states already voting.

Our next guest writes that Donald Trump is in trouble because, quote, "Trump's ceiling is too low for him to be re-elected."

Joining us now is Charlie Cook. He's the editor and publisher of "The Cook Political Report", a columnist for "The National Journal". He's also an NBC News political analyst.

And Charlie, everyone out there is going, yes, yes, we heard that last time. Trump's behind in the polls, and then he won. What is the big difference between this time and last time? The differences between the numbers for Hillary Clinton and the numbers for Joe Biden.

CHARLIE COOK, NBC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let me count the ways. I mean first of all, incumbent races are different from -- you know, that was a choice election between two candidates neither one of them were incumbents which now, Trump has a record he's running on. He's got to defend a record.

And there's sort of an axiom with incumbents -- what you see is what you get -- that incumbents don't usually get many undecided votes. And he's kind of locked in at 41 percent, 42 percent, 43 percent, which is exactly where his job approval ratings tend to be right at the same place.

And so he seems to have -- he can't expect to get undecideds or many undecideds, Independents almost always break against the sitting incumbents. Biden's favorable or unfavorable ratings don't look a bit like Hillary Clinton. I mean Biden is sort of basically even-keeled. She was underwater so far.

There are just so many different ways that this race is completely different from 2016. This is fighting the last war. Looking at this race through the prism of 2016 doesn't make any sense. They're not the same.

O'DONNELL: And Charlie, you make a point in here that approval ratings are the most reliable predictor of how an incumbent president will perform.

COOK: That's exactly right. And it's interesting everybody -- look at the last, you know, eight elected presidents running for re-election. Every one of them that had a 50 percent or above Gallup job approval rating, 100 percent won. Everybody that was below 47 percent, everyone of them -- both of them lost -- Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush. And the guy on the edge was George W. Bush, who was like 48, 49. And, remember, Election Day in '84, you know, we didn't know whether it was going to be Bush or Kerry, which way it was going to go.

But for George -- I mean for President Trump, his first year average was 38 percent, the lowest of any first-year incumbent in history, elected incumbent in history. His second year was 40 percent, lowest of any second-year elected president in history. And in his third year, he was at 42 percent. And that was the second lowest because Jimmy Carter had slid in under him at 37 percent.

So getting -- you know, he's having a hard time getting up to the 46 percent level that he got in the last election, and you know, you're not going to have Jill Stein and Gary Johnson sucking up six points between them and the other Independents and the write-ins. It's probably going to be more like two or three.

So, you know, I just think that people are so skittish about what happened in 2016 without looking at why did 2016 happen, what happened and why this is different. So you know, I think people are just being scared of their shadows and overly cautious when, you know, I think the data is pretty clear. This is not -- this is a lot harder for him than 2016 was.

O'DONNELL: Charlie Cook, thank you very much for joining us again tonight. We always appreciate it.

COOK: Thanks for your kind words.

O'DONNELL: Charlie Cook gets tonight's LAST WORD.



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